Postcards from Malthusia DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Hugh McMillan

The New Old Age 


I am looking at the contents 

of my coat pocket:

a train ticket, a pencil 

plucked from the playground,  

a receipt for a steak pie 


and large glass 

of Sauvignon blanc,

and I think I should put 

these on a shelf as symbols 

of a lost and easy age 


of innocence. 

It is enough almost 

to make you weep 

this sacred detritus,

rubbish pregnant now


with such meaning. 

When we emerge 

blinking into the future 

with our long hair,

our chipped teeth,


our bandaged specs,

will those months 

of self help, yoga, 

soda bread and scrabble 

swell our brains


to the size of a new world?

Will poetry have seen us through?

I  don’t know. I think, jealous

of their high fiving freedom 

through our long days


of want and envy 

we will swarm out to find a rook

to strangle while nature 

scatters with a collective sigh 

of here’s this lot on the piss again.




Hugh McMillan is a poet from Dumfries and Galloway. His last collection The Conversation of Sheep (Luath) was hailed in Scottish Farmer as the best poetry collection ever about the conversation of sheep. He is currently curating a video blog of Scottish poets in lockdown at

One thought on “Postcards from Malthusia DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Hugh McMillan

  1. Yes, pessimistic… and realistic. It will take more than the raising of the Siege to save the planet


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